The Challenge of Product-Market Fit: Microdyne Robotics

Microdyne Robotics was a member of the second cohort of the Penn I-Corps Accelerator Program, hosted by the Penn Center for Innovation in spring 2016. We asked the founders to reflect on the program, and how it helped their startup grow.

By Elizabeth Hunter ENG’13/GR’19, Denise Wong GR’17, and Edward Steager, Co-founders of Microdyne Robotics

Microdyne Robotics is a company founded with the broad vision of automated manipulation of objects at length scales less than 100 microns, generally smaller than the width of a hair. We’re interested in applying new discoveries and techniques that we develop in the lab to problems such as biological cell sorting, targeted drug delivery, and fine-scale force microscopy. We use arrangements of electromagnets to manipulate microfabricated, magnetic robots that are controlled using visual feedback, typically using a microscope as an interface.

Microbots schematic
Microbot schematic

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Exit Interview: Jennifer Meller WG’16, Co-founder of Navimize

Recent Wharton Executive MBA grad Jennifer Meller took advantage of every entrepreneurial resource while she was a student, including becoming a member of our incubator, the Venture Initiation Program. Before she graduated last month, we asked her a few questions about her experience as a student entrepreneur. Here’s what she said:

Meller 600x450 Read more Exit Interview: Jennifer Meller WG’16, Co-founder of Navimize

Ask an Entrepreneur: Required Reading

In this series, we pose questions from student entrepreneurs to our entrepreneurial instructors, and let you read their answering chatter. Casual, off-the-cuff, intelligent, informed responses are guaranteed. Want to ask a question? Email entrepreneurship@wharton.upenn.edu and include “Ask an Entrepreneur” in the subject line.  

Nidhi Shah WG’17 asked:

What books or research have shaped your thoughts on the entrepreneurship journey?Book with glasses 600x450 Read more Ask an Entrepreneur: Required Reading

Beer & Cookies

Current ventures by Wharton alumni range from med tech to not-so-guilty pleasures.

NOMsense

Cookie sandwich concept first baked up in Penn’s Harnwell College House in 2014, founded by Wharton senior Roopa Shankar and College seniors Alina Wong and Rachel Stewart, and now an Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Awards national finalist. Their spring menu features snickerdoodles with chocolate cookie dough filling, semisweet chocolate drizzle and crushed toffee filling, and that’s just their “classic.” You can also try the “cutie pie,” the “nut job” or the “n003” cookies in stores around the Philly area. Or order online.

Nomsense 600x450

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Ask an Entrepreneur: Angel Investors

In this new series, we’ll pose questions from student entrepreneurs to our entrepreneurial instructors, and let you read their answering chatter. Casual, off-the-cuff, intelligent, informed responses are guaranteed. Want to ask a question? Email entrepreneurship@wharton.upenn.edu and include “Ask an Entrepreneur” in the subject line.  

Nupur Joshi WG’16 asked:

At what stage should I pursue angel investors, and what level of preparedness do I need for initial conversations?

Tyler Patrick Jeffrey
Tyler Wry, Patrick Fitzgerald, and Jeffrey Babin

Read more Ask an Entrepreneur: Angel Investors

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Richard Perlman W’68 met the founders of RightCare Solutions, Eric Heil ENG’05/WG’12, Matt TanzerW’02/WG’05, and Mrinal Bhasker WG’12, at the 2012 Venture Finals of the Wharton Business Plan Competition. RightCare Solutions had just won the Grand Prize, and at the awards event, he introduced himself to the team. While giving Eric his business card, Richard told him, “The ball is in your court, please call me.”

Unsurprisingly, he heard from Eric within less than a day.

Richard w prop 600x45 Read more The Last Piece of the Puzzle

Pitching to Wharton San Francisco

By Miranda Wang C’16, founder of BioCellection

Editor’s note: Before she was the first undergraduate to win the Business Plan Competition (with a record breaking five prizes!), Miranda Wang attended Spring Pitch at Wharton San Francisco. 

At first, I didn’t even know that Wharton had a campus in San Francisco.

Then when I did learn about Wharton San Francisco, it sounded too fancy for someone like me: a mere undergrad, always running around trying to get small grants here and there to bootstrap a startup. Rumor had it that the lecture halls looked like Huntsman classrooms except “much nicer”—but I didn’t actually know anyone who had been inside.

Miranda Wang C;16 at Spring Pitch
Miranda Wang C’16 at Spring Pitch

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A Floor of Freshmen Entrepreneurs

By Antonio Menarde W’19/ENG’19

Editor’s note: Each year, Ware College House dedicates one floor to a special community: Penn freshmen with a passion for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We asked a student living on that floor now to describe what it’s like:

You would never guess that behind the extemporaneous dinosaur posters that cover our hall walls, one of the quirkiest (and best) idea incubators on campus is hard at work. I learned early on that there is no person you can meet at Penn who is not already friends with someone from our hall: the Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship program. Though we are known for being “hella tight”, the diversity of people, opinions, and ideas is the foundation of our community, and the reason a lot of people seem to know us.

Entrep floor 600 x 450 2
Members of the research, innovation, and entrepreneurship floor.

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Prevent Plagiarism, Teach Political Correctness, Be a Boss in Business

By Matt McGuire WG’16

Editor’s note: Lucy Peng and Lucy Zhang received a Wharton Innovation Fund award and won a Wharton Venture Award for 2015, and spent the summer in China, working on their company. Read about their experience here

It’s really pretty tragic when you think about it. Imagine: You spend your entire life in a hyper-competitive system fighting for a spot in a prestigious university. You get to school at 6:30 am for an hour of intense pre-class reading. After classes get out at 5:30pm, you dine with your classmates for an hour then go back school and study until 10pm. Then you go home and study for at least another hour. And that’s Monday through Saturday—and then also Sunday, Lucy Peng (WG’16) tells me. Peng then proceeds to quote one of her teachers when she was a student in China: “You are free every Sunday afternoon to take a shower.”

That’s what school is like in China.

SetSail blog Read more Prevent Plagiarism, Teach Political Correctness, Be a Boss in Business